I checked out this model which uses particle hair which is attached to an invisible scalp. I eventually figured out the invisibility bit (object tab, "Wire" and "Transparency") which was more convenient than my previous method (moving the mesh that created the force field to another render layer). The scalp is copied off the original head then slightly scaled up.
Having the scalp a bit larger than the actual head helps fix the issue of hair getting stuck on/inside the mesh due to it starting out too close to it.
A quick test to prove the physics is working:
Next steps for hair:
- Give the character a haircut, also using different particle system groups for different areas of the hair on the scalp
- Figure out a way to keep the top of the scalp from looking so bald (see the first image; that seems to happen a lot)
- Get rid of hair that is still clipping the head, perhaps by adjusting force field settings
- Play with settings to get different looks (something a bit messier and a little less 'every hair in place')